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Gun store owner: Buying an AR-15 in Washington is harder than you think

Lynnwood gun shop owner Tiffany Teasdale poses for a photo with a semi-automatic rifle in Lynnwood, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

In the wake of a recent tragic shooting in Texas, Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline noted that it “should be harder to buy an AR-15 than it is to buy Sudafed.”

So, how difficult is it to walk out of a gun store in Washington with an AR-15?

Wait times for the now-notorious weapon can vary state-to-state — experiments in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Iowa saw reporters able to purchase one in less than 40 minutes. But other states have more stringent requirements, including Washington.

Lynnwood Gun owner thinks she already found loophole in I-1639

“We do the background check,” Lynnwood Gun owner Tiffany Teasdale told KTTH’s Jason Rantz. “There’s a full federal document that people have to fill out. We verify their ID with the information that they wrote on the document. We send it off to the local police department because under the new law [Initiative 1639], the background check is completed by the local police department.”

Police departments then have 10 business days to respond. On the 11th day, a customer is able to come in to the store and take possession of their AR-15.

Many gun store owners — including Teasdale — have panned Washington’s voter-approved I-1639 as being overly restrictive for law-abiding gun owners. The burden it’s had on gun sellers includes more paperwork, added administrative costs, and figuring out where to house more firearms for longer periods of time as background checks process.

Other states employ similar restrictions. California employs a 10-day waiting period of its own, while Hawaii mandates a 14-day window.

How I-1639 is already affecting Washington gun sellers

In some cases at Lynnwood Gun, Teasdale has even refused service to potential buyers when she’s felt they pose to a danger to themselves or others.

“We’ve stopped several gun sales because of a weird vibe,” she noted. “We all have a natural ‘Spidey sense,’ and we’ve learned over the years to really harness it and understand it. Sometimes you just don’t feel comfortable giving somebody a gun, and we have the right to say no. We’ve exercised that right a few times.”

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